How to Win in Badminton Doubles: Strategy and Tips

Badminton doubles has an extremely different style of play compared to badminton singles. Two partners work together to retrieve the shuttle.

In professional badminton, you’ll realise that a singles player will not be a doubles player at the same time.

It’s difficult for a player to specialize in both badminton singles and doubles.

This is because singles and doubles player move differently around
the court. Training for singles and doubles is also very different.

The table below highlights the main differences:

Singles Doubles
Good Court Coverage Effective footwork is key Formation is important
Training Focus their training on footwork and accurate smashes towards the singles sidelines. Train more on returning badminton services (I’ll explain why later), powerful smashes and block defences.

Basic Strategy in Badminton Doubles

When playing doubles, it is very important that you DO NOT produce a high lift or clear unless you really have to.

When you lift or clear the shuttle, you’re simply inviting your opponent to attack you.

The basic strategy to win rallies in doubles is to fire channelling
attacks to your opponents and then keep the pressure on until you win
the rally.

The objective is to force a weak return from your opponent with your consecutive attacks.

In order to commence your attack, you’ll first have to force your opponent to produce a high lift. This allows you or your partner to smash.

Returning Opponent’s Serve

In doubles, returning a badminton serve is extremely important because it determines who gets the high lift first.

The party who gets the lift first will get the chance to attack, which means they have a higher chance to win the rally.

When you return a serve in doubles, make the shuttle fly as low as
possible (in a flat trajectory). This prevents your opponent from
smashing and initiating pressure.

How to Return Opponent’s Serve

The picture above shows you the ideal return of serve in badminton doubles.

Keep the shuttle as low as possible or direct it downwards to your opponent. This may force a high lift from your opponent.

The shots that you should employ for the return of serve in doubles are:

If your opponent produces a poor quality serve (the serve is too high), do not hesitate to smash!

Work Your Way to Get the Lift

A good return (as explained above) is a good way to force a high lift from your opponent.

If your return fails to force your opponents to produce a high lift, be patient.

Work your way through the rally; continue working on getting a lift from your opponents.

The main objective in a badminton doubles game is to bring the
shuttle lower towards your opponents, until one party finally gives up
and performs the high lift.

This is when you start your attacks using the badminton jump smash.

Keep Sending the Shuttle Downwards and Keep it As Low as Possible

In the picture above, both parties try to keep the shuttle as low as
possible. They aim to bring the shuttle down lower and lower towards
their opponents’ side.

When one party feels that the shuttle is too low, they will eventually perform the high lift.

Basic Doubles Formation

Formation in badminton doubles is very important for fast continuous attack. Good formation also helps with defence.

Basically there are 2 types of formation:

  • Attacking formation (players standing in front and at the back)
  • Defensive formation (players standing side by side)


Attacking Formation

Your partner and you should move to form the attacking formation when you manage to force your opponents to produce a high lift.

The badminton doubles attacking formation simply requires one player to stand behind his partner (see the picture above).

In the attacking formation, the 2 players will have different roles.

The player in front (known as the “setter”) is responsible for

  1. Securing the net position. The setter will apply pressure from the net area to continue forcing lifts from their opponent.
  2. Intercepting short defences. If the opponents hit a poor quality
    lift, the setter positioned at the front will intercept the lift with a

The player at the back (known as the attacker) plays only 1 important role, which is to penetrate their opponent’s defences by firing powerful shots.

In simple terms, the attacker covers the back of the court, whereas
the setter covers the front of the court in an attacking formation.


Defensive Formation

Form a defensive formation when either of you execute a high lift or high clear.

This formation will have you and your partner standing side by side, where each player covers their respective sides.

In a defensive formation, be prepared to defend against your opponent’s powerful smashes.

In addition, practise an important defensive skill known as the BLOCK DEFENCE.

To perform a block defence, retrieve your opponent’s smash by lifting
the shuttle high. Send the smash right back to the attacker at the

The picture above shows you the flight trajectory of your opponent’s smash (in blue) and a block defence by you (in red).

Your block defence must fly high and deep into your opponent’s
baseline to prevent the setter from intercepting with a half court


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